Turkmenistan Capital Claims Guinness Record For Most Marble Buildings

The capital of Turkmenistan has been recognized by Guinness for having the highest density of white marble buildings in the world. Ashgabat boasts 543 new buildings clad with over 48 million square feet of marble, according to Guinness.

The former Soviet satellite state underwent a dramatic architectural transformation after independence under the leadership of the authoritarian “President for Life” Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006. Concrete soviet blocks were razed and replaced with marble-clad government buildings and housing complexes in a garish display of Turkmenistan’s immense natural gas wealth.

Niyazov’s successor, Gurganguly Berdymukhamedov, attached himself to the record by adding the honorific “Distinguished Architect of Turkmenistan” to his current list of titles.

The Guinness website says that if laid out flat there would be over 10 square feet of marble for every 50 square feet of land in the city. In 2013 Turkmenistan was ranked the fifth most miserable country in the world.

This isn’t the first time that the closed-off country has won itself a new record. It previously won the record for the world’s tallest unsupported flagpole (a record now held by Tajikistan), the largest architectural star and the largest indoor Ferris wheel. Its other conspicuous projects include a $1 billion resort complex on the deserted shores of the Caspian Sea.

Kiiking: Estonia’s Extreme Swing Set

Remember when we were kids playing on the swing set and we’d try to swing so high that we’d fly over the top bar and come down the other side? No, I never made it either. But in Estonia, they’ve taken a childhood dream and made it an extreme sport.

It’s called kiiking. Using a special swing with steel arms instead of chains, the kiiker stands on the swing and pumps back and forth until he or she gets enough momentum to make a full 360-degree turn. The best kiikers can go around several times. The longer the shaft of the swing, the harder it is, and according to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the record for kiiking is with a 7.02-meter (23-foot) swing used by Andrus Aasamäe of Estonia on August 21, 2004.

Kiiking has taken off in the Baltic states and in Scandinavia. Here we show a video of the Estonian army taking a little time off from defending the nation to practice kiiking.

Museum Month: Pizza Brain, Philadelphia’s Pizza Museum

The world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia will soon be housed in an unlikely home – not Italy, or New York or even Connecticut, but in Philadelphia, a city better known for its hoagies and its cheesesteaks than its ‘za.

But thanks to 27-year-old Brian Dwyer, the Guinness World Record holder of pizza memorabilia, the dream to open a pizza-themed museum will become a reality late this spring or early this summer at Pizza Brain, the world’s first museum dedicated to Pizza.

As might be expected, the museum will also function as a restaurant serving, you guessed it, pizza.

The idea came about somewhat virally, as many do these days – Dwyer and friends had rousing success at an art gallery event in 2010 titled “Give Pizza a Chance,” which drew a crowd of more than 300.

“When I started down this road, I said, I want to be able to display all this stuff in a pizzeria,” Dwyer told The Huffington Post. “And I thought at first that when we open, I’ll make this funny bold claim that we had the biggest pizza memorabilia collection on the Eastern Seaboard, or maybe in America. As I started joking about that, my friend was like, ‘Dude, you should see who actually has the biggest.’ I assumed somebody had done this. So I did that: I typed in all sorts of search phrases into Google trying to find the biggest collection, and nothing came up. I was shocked. So I contacted Guinness, started going through all the regular channels, and got the record in July.”

And thus the museum began, and thus it will open, in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, the same area that once housed his art show. Thanks to Internet-based Kickstarter, Dwyer and partners have raised $16,587, more than their initial $15,000 goal.

What do you think? Would you visit this museum, if only to get a hot slice at the end of the night?

Galeries Lafayette in Morocco receives first Guinness World Record for largest in-store shop facade

The Galeries Lafayette, a department store in Casablanca, Morocco, has received an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for having “the largest in-store shop façade”. The façade has a combined area of 36,402.68 square feet (about 46 feet high and almost 791 feet wide) that takes over the three story store located in the Morocco Mall.

The Galeries Lafayette is set to open on December 5, 2011, along with the Morocco Mall itself.

While winning the Guinness Book of World Records spot is exciting, it is also worth noting that the Morocco Mall is the first destination mall in Africa and is being built as an economic development initiative of the Mediterranean Region, Southern Europe, and Africa. Construction began in 2007 and the mall is said to be on of the five largest in the world. People visiting the Morocco Mall will be immersed in a world of shopping and entertainment and will be able to visit the third musical fountain to be built in the world.

For more information on the Morocco Mall, click here.

California man sets new record by surfing for 26-hours straight

Surfer Bill Laity earned himself a spot in the record books last weekend by setting a new endurance mark for the longest continuous surfing record. Laity, who lives in San Clemente, California, set the record off Huntington Beach, where he rode the waves for a very impressive 26-hours straight.

To make his historic ride Laity had to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records and obtain permits that would allow for night surfing. He started planning his attempt back in September after previous record holder Thomas Cannon managed to surf for 24-hours in a row back in August.

Before he even hit the water last Saturday Laity could tell he was going to be in for a challenge. Rain started to fall early that morning, and the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning. That led to cold conditions while out on the waves and forced him to don a different wetsuit on his first break.

The Guinness Book allows for a five minute breather for every hour surfed, and Laity went for 10 hours straight before heading into shore for the first time. During that break he put on a warmer suit, which set him up for another 12-hour stint on his board, which measured just five foot, seven inches in length. During his second break Laity managed to eat some lunch, then drag his weary body back out onto the water for four more hours of surfing.

Previous to this attempt, the longest that the 37-year old Laity had surfed was five-hours straight while visiting Hawaii.

[Photo credit: Brent Hilleman via The Swell Blog]